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BofA to give away houses

By Marcie Geffner · Bankrate.com
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Posted: 12 pm ET

Have too many foreclosed properties?

Why not give them away?

That's what Bank of America plans to do with as many as 150 vacant and abandoned properties in and around Chicago through a new "collaboration" with the city that's intended to address the problem of abandoned properties.

"Unfortunately," BofA said in a statement, "many homeowners faced with unemployment, underemployment and other economic hardships have transitioned to alternative housing situations, and in many cases, have walked away from their homes, leaving behind vacant and deteriorating properties that can cause neighborhood blight."

As part of the new effort, BofA plans to:

  • Register properties with the city when the mortgage is delinquent and the property has been identified as vacant and abandoned.
  • Identify up to 150 properties that will be referred to a new Cook County vacant and abandoned building court call in an effort to speed up the foreclosure process and return the properties to stable, productive use. The foreclosure timeline for vacant and abandoned properties in the area currently averages 18 months, the bank said.
  • Contribute funds toward the city's costs of demolishing deteriorating buildings on the donated properties.
  • Donate foreclosed and vacant condominiums to the nonprofit Community Investment Corp. as part of an initiative to upgrade, preserve and stabilize management of affordable rental housing.

BofA also recently held a mortgage modification outreach event and opened a new full-time customer assistance center in Chicago.

These and other initiatives "provide convenient opportunities for customers who are having difficulty making their mortgage and other credit account payments to receive face-to-face counseling, on-site processing and underwriting of mortgage modification requests and other assistance," the bank explained.

Bank of America presently has 12 full-time customer assistance centers. Twenty-eight more are scheduled to open in the next few months. Seven will be located in California. Others will be in Atlanta, Baltimore/Washington, D.C., Denver, Detroit, Houston, Miami, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Antonio, St. Louis and other major cities.

Follow me on Twitter: @marciegeff

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699 Comments
Mike
July 11, 2011 at 11:42 am

Wow! I think the banks make more on a forclosure anyway. I tried for 5 months to get a loan modification from B of A. I only wanted to move 2 past payments into the loan with no other modification. They lost my paperwork 3 times, then closed out the case stating I did not provide all the information and then put me in forclosure. I have since become current, but due to the fact they seem not to want to help, I will walk away from this home as soon as I have a lease on a new property. They can choke on this one too!

KarenATL
July 11, 2011 at 10:58 am

This is insane! Had they worked with the mortgage holders, no one would have walked away, and there would be no vacant properties creating "blight". NOW that they got the people out of the houses, instead of working with them, they have too much bad debt on their books, so they're "donating" these houses to people who couldn't have qualified for the first loan, much less today's loan policies. Bank of AMERICA indeed.